After being prosecuted for the death of a 12-year-old girl whom he'd performed a female genital mutilation on, Egyptian doctor Rasdlan Fadl was acquitted of manslaughter in November. The trial was a first for Egypt, which had never before seen someone prosecuted over the controversial practice. The verdict was then appealed, and as was announced Monday in Mansoura, Fadl lost.
Sohair al-Bata was taken by her parents in 2013 to Dr. Fadl, and reports said she died due to a female circumcision, commonly referred to as female genital mutilation, that he had performed on her. Fadl denied that she had been in his care because of the operation, claiming that he had been removing a wart and that al-Bata had died because of an allergic reaction to penicillin. Fadl won his last trial (though he did have to pay several hundred dollars to al-Bata's mother) but prosecutors appealed the verdict. The BBC reports he has now been sentenced to two years for manslaughters and three months for performing FGM. al-Bata's father, who had also been tried after admitting to taking his daughter to see Dr. Fadl, has been given a three month suspended sentence.
In a statement, a representative for Equality Now–the organization that has been heavily advocating for justice in this case–called the ruling "a monumental victory":
"It is fantastic news that Soheir has finally been given justice. This is a monumental victory for women and girls in Egypt - the first ever FGM trial in a country with the highest number of affected women globally. The country has shown that it will implement its laws and we hope that this is the first step towards ending this extreme form of violence against women once and for all"
Despite the UN's global ban on the practice, UNICEF estimates that 91% of Egyptian women and girls have been have been cut, with the total number at 27.1 million, one of the highest rates in the world.
Image via Women's Center for Guidance and Legal Awareness/AP